Fitting In and Feeling Fine: Conformity and Coping Motives as Mediators of the Relationship Between Social Anxiety and Problematic Drinking

Melissa A. Lewis, M. Christina Hove, Ursula Whiteside, Christine M. Lee, Benjamin S. Kirkeby, Laura Oster-Aaland, Clayton Neighbors, Mary E. Larimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

101 Scopus citations


The present research was conducted to clarify the relationships among social anxiety, alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems, and negative-reinforcement drinking motives among college students. Heavy drinking students (N = 316, 53.80% female) completed self-report measures of social anxiety, alcohol consumption, alcohol-related problems, and drinking motives. Findings indicated that students higher in social anxiety consumed less alcohol but experienced more negative consequences. Moreover, the relationship between social anxiety and negative consequences was mediated by coping and conformity drinking motives in addition to alcohol consumption. In the context of social anxiety, the current research demonstrates the importance of examining problematic drinking as distinct constructs: alcohol consumption and negative consequences. Findings are also discussed in terms of implications for interventions with socially anxious students.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-67
Number of pages10
JournalPsychology of Addictive Behaviors
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2008



  • alcohol
  • alcohol-related problems
  • drinking motives
  • social anxiety

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